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Answers for the nervous bride
I dream about tripping and falling on my face as I walk down the aisle.
Is this really a problem?

The trip down the aisle (no pun intended) is the most nervous part of the wedding for the Bride. I have watched Brides make that walk with varying degrees of composure or elan. Of the thousands I've watched, none - not one - has ever tripped and fallen down. (I have watched the bride break a heel; lose her slip as she came down the aisle; etc.)

But the Processional is the focus of a lot of anxiety in the months preceding the wedding. Often, but not always, the Bride has an escort to help her navigate down the aisle. The escort might be her father or another male relative; or her father and her mother. The Bride might be escorted down the aisle by both her dads: her natural father and her stepfather, or accompanied halfway down the aisle by one dad and the rest of the way by the other. I have seen the Bride and Groom process down the aisle together.

In some cases, it is most appropriate in the minds of the Bride and Groom for her to walk in without any escort. In one case - a second marriage for the Bride - she was escorted by her four children, answering enthusiastically "WE DO!" when the officiant asked "Who brings...?"

Most brides know how to walk. The problem comes in trying to match your steps to the music selected as the Processional. My suggestion: don't try to walk to the precise rhythm of the music. Walk slowly and normally. (The emphasis is on SLOWLY. Nervousness will tend to speed you up! Resist the temptation. Walk slowly and normally down the aisle.)

I have seen only a few Brides do the "hesitation step" well. Most often it looks awkward and contrived. I almost always suggest you not try it. If you do try it, pay attention to what it says it is: It's a hesitation step. It doesn't look good when you do it fast. It also doesn't look good when you take big steps between "hesitations." If you feel you must do the "hesitation step," be prepared for a long processional, and do it slowly, taking small steps.

Some of the best processionals I have seen were by Brides who have been dancers. There is a specific "dancer's walk" - almost a dance in itself - that is slow and intentional, with the body straight, tall and balanced. It's wonderful.

Then there is the problem of walking in a big dress. The dress shouldn't be dragging on the floor in the front as the Bride walks. Practice walking in the dress; not just standing. If the aisle is carpeted, practice walking on carpet to see if the front of the dress in fact will clear the carpet and not drag. Stand up straight! There may be a train to negotiate. Have someone spread your train out behind you as you are about to start down the aisle. When you arrive at your destination, you may want one of your bridesmaids to straighten the train... without spending too much time fussing with it.

(One Bride's fantastic train, something like Princess Di's, was over twenty-five feet long. There was a paid employee of the bridal shop thrown in with the dress purchase, whose job on the day of the wedding was simply and only to fuss with the train.)

One reason to have your escort on your left is so that he won't have to step on or over your train in order to reach his seat on the Bride's side of the aisle.

Your Groom will approach and offer you his arm on your right side.

If you have steps to climb as part of your processional, pay close attention to your dress and your hands. You have several things to do and think about, but if you don't pick up your dress when you climb stairs, you will be in trouble! In the swirling nervousness of the moment, I have watched too many Brides forget to pick up their floor-length dress and try to climb stairs at the front of the Chapel. It can't be done. One tends to walk up the inside of one's dress... and this doesn't work.

The problem is that you run out of hands. If you are the Bride, you are carrying flowers in one hand and the Groom has just arrived to offer you his arm. You take his arm. Unless you put the flowers in the same hand that is linked to the Groom's arm, you won't be able to pick up your dress.

Don't worry too much about doing this in high style. You most often will have your back to the guests as you climb stairs. They can't see in which hand you have flowers or just how you manage to grab the dress (and accompanying slips, etc.) to pick it up. Going down stairs in a long dress seems to be much easier than up. 

Submitted by:
Dave Sugarbaker


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